While browsing the Internet there are 2 types of “footprints” that you leave. The records of the sites you visit are stored in 2 places: one is a server where a website is hosted and the other is your own Mac browser history. Services like VPN or Tor can help you to hide the 1st set, but what can you do with your traces on your Mac?
The first thing you may think about is to clear your browser history when you finish working on the computer. But it is not so safe as you have to remember to do it every time.
However, there is another way that is not so obvious. Safari supports a special mode, private browsing, that allows you to freely search through the Internet without leaving any tracec on the machine. Check this article to learn how it works.
What is private browsing?
First of all, it should be stated clearly what private browsing can and cannot do. As it has already been said above, private browsing doesn’t let any browsing records be placed on your Mac. It does not make you invisible online, it does not hide your IP address and does not prevent websites from collecting your cookies.
So private browsing will only let you stay hidden from those who you share your Mac with. It is a matter of great importance when you use a publicly shared Mac and it can also at times be useful at home.
For example, when you want to hide from your relatives that you are going to buy a specific present for one of them or when viewing adult content.
How to use private browsing in Safari
Here is step-by-step guide how to set up this private browsing option.
Normally, when you browse a usual Safari window, the cache and history of the websites that you open is stored according to your Safari settings. If you want to browse privately, you need to open another Safari window.
To do this, open your Safari and go to File > New Private Window from the menu bar. Another way to do this is via keyboard shortcut Shift-Command-N.
The new window will open. It looks just like normal Safari window, only the address bar is much darker. You will also find an explanation from Safari about what the private browsing is for and how it works at the top of the window.
Now you can do all the same activities on the web that you are used to. None of your track will be recorded on this specific machine when you close the window.
How to make the private mode a default option
The private browsing option in Safari works really great for those who want to hide their traces from other people on a specific machine. But still even with this option given you have to remember to switch it on every time you go browsing on the web.
You can make the private browsing a default option and never to worry about your privacy anymore. To do this go to Safari > Preferences at the menu bar. In the Safar preferences window, on the general tab find the drop-down label “Safari opens with” and set it to “A new private window”.
From now on every time you open the Safari browser, it will be a private session. You can manually open a normal window by clicking Command-N or going to File > New Window from the menu bar.